The golden goose of the Commercial Diver might just be a mollusk!?!

The golden goose of the Commercial Diver might just be a mollusk!?!

What type of Commercial Diver seeks out the Geoduck

Commercial Divers who specialize in Geoduck work in some of the most remote, pristine waters along the coast of British Columbia. Harvests normally start in the winter months, where Commercial Divers get paid by the weight of their harvests. Like most Seafood harvesting this means finding a balance between speed and precision to maximize the harvest per dive. When it comes to value, geoducks are at the top of the food chain (much less so on the actual food chain). Large markets overseas means that the geoduck fetches a payout resulting in geoduck divers being one of, if not the top earners in the seafood harvesting industry.

What do these BC Jobs look like?

It’s hard work using surface-supplied equipment, the commercial diver takes a water jet (stinger) with them. Divers work at a depth of 10 – 20 metres moving along the ocean floor looking for a geoduck show (the tip of a siphon or a dimple in the sand made by the tip of a siphon). It kind of looks like nostrils. When a diver finds a show, he uses the stinger to jet water into the sand sand around the clam. This liquidizes the sand, enabling the diver to reach down into the sea floor (sometimes 3 or 4 feet) and pull out the clam and place it in a bag that is clipped to the diver’s waist.  When the bag is full, the diver signals the crew to hoist the bag up to the deck of the vessel.

Once onboard, the geoducks are gently emptied from the bag onto a cushioned sorting table where the clams are banded to prevent the shell from gaping and help keep the clam alive.  They are then placed into cages with liners that separate each layer of product to avoid marking and prevent breakage during transport.  The cages are labeled following strict guidelines and kept clean and cool, ready for validation and distribution. 

While it’s hard work being a commercial diver in the geoduck industry it also provides some of the best benefits in the commercial diving industry at large. The combination of impressive pay, beautiful work locations, seasonal work, and being relatively close to home makes this career rival even offshore diving which may pay more but often doesn’t have the same benefits. It makes sense then that these positions on the limited geoduck boats are highly coveted by commercial divers and can require the right timing and/or connections to get on a crew.

If this sounds like the career for you can always reach out to the DiveSafe team to get more information and connections with companies in the industry.

In Canada geoducks are harvested by members of the UHA (Underwater Harvesters Association)      


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